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Discussion Starter #1
I have a few pieces that my symphonic orchestra plays that are basically marches written in 6/8 timing. I can keep track fairly well with cut time marches, but get lost very quickly in a 6/8.
is there an easy way to read the timing? Using 1&2&3 etc. seems to be too slow, by the time I've figured out the rhythm, I'm a bar or two behind. Any help would be appreciated.
 

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Generally (as a march) its a 2 beat thing rather than a 3 beat thing, so I go with

1 and a 2 and a

Sometimes it throws me at first, but eventually my head gets in "semi waltz" mode. Its often kind of fast, but it gets easier the more you are exposed to it.


1 2 3 4 5 6
 

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I assume you can play triplets and various triplet-based rhythms correctly. If the problem is recognizing such rhythms as they are notated in 6/8 rather than 2/4, 3/4, or 4/4, you need to (a) do a lot of practicing of etudes in 6/8, and (b) learn to spot groups of notes rather than individual notes. The basic groups will make up 99% of what you'll be playing: three eighth notes together; a quarter note and an eighth note; a dotted eighth note, a sixteenth note, and another eighth note; six sixteenth notes together; and groups in which one or two of the eighth notes have been replaced by two sixteenth notes.

If you want something to practice on something more enjoyable than etudes, try Baroque music. Many pieces or movements are in 6/8. E.g., try some of the gigues from the Bach cello suites. Play slowly at first and then work up to speed.
 

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In slow tempos the eighth note gets one beat and you count 6 beats in a measure. In faster 6/8 time the note that gets the beat is a dotted quarter, with a dotted half note getting two beats. All of this is covered if you have worked through any of the beginning band method books or the common studies such as the Rubank methods. If you haven't done so, it may help to pick up a few of those books and work through the exercises on playing and reading 6/8 time.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you all for the replies. I will study up and get this thing under control. Putting the rhythm as I would a cut time (2 beats) seems to help. trying to stay synced with the other band members is my ultimate goal.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I spoke with my band director about the timing issues. He told me that he thinks along the lines of the mickey mouse tune. M-I-C-K-E-Y, After listening to the latest tune we are playing , this made a lot of sense and has resonated with me. Perhaps this analogy will help other folks who are not "feeling" the rhythm. thanks again to all.
 
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